Natalie N. Barefoot
Executive Director, Cet Law
Director, Environmental Justice Clinic
Lecturer in Law, University of Miami School of Law
Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy Scholar
An attorney barred and based in Florida, Natalie is the Director of the University of Miami School of Law’s Environmental Justice Clinic (EJC). She is also a Faculty Scholar at the University of Miami Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. At the EJC, Natalie, along with student teams, litigates two class action toxic tort cases in federal and state courts, and designs policy initiatives tackling issues of climate change in South Florida, particularly those that inequitably affect low-income and minority communities. Besides teaching clinical classes, Natalie has also taught Biodiversity Law and Legal Protections of the Ocean and its Biodiversity.
Natalie is also the Executive Director of Cet Law, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the protection and conservation of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and their ocean and freshwater habitats. Her work has taken her around the world to places such as Dominica, the Cook Islands, Tonga, the Azores, the United States and Canada where she worked with whale-watching economies, governments, and not-for-profits to promote healthy, robust and respected cetacean populations through, for example, developing responsible whale watching regulations, understanding climate change and whales, and establishing whale sanctuaries and marine protected areas.
Natalie has spent time in the field logging over 400 hours on research boats tracking, observing and collecting data on cetaceans, including observational data, photographic data, acoustic data, and DNA samples. She also gained hands on experience with handling whale strandings, performing field necropsies, satellite tagging, and the filming of documentaries. It was this time in the field that inspired Natalie to found Cet Law to address a need for high-end legal research and resources.
Prior to Cet Law, Natalie worked with the United Nation Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch in Geneva, Switzerland as a programme officer specializing in general legal and environmental law issues. Preceding her time at UNEP, Natalie was an attorney with Hogan Lovells, LLP in their Miami office, focusing her law practice on environmental law, as well as environmental, appellate and commercial litigation in U.S. state, federal and appellate courts. Before embarking on a career as an attorney, Natalie worked as a financial specialist and grants manager in international development with Pact, Inc., based in DC and then Harare, Zimbabwe implementing USAID funded projects.
Natalie is a Member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and on the Whale Heritage Steering Committee of the World Cetacean Alliance. She is a certified PADI Divemaster, AIDA 2 freediver, guides paddleboard and kayak trips in the Florida keys, participates in beach cleanups, and volunteers as a diver for Coral Restoration Foundation. Natalie is committed to combatting climate change, and protecting biodiversity through translating science and knowledge into legal protections.
Twitter: @barefootnn; @cetaceanlaw
Instagram: @nnbarefoot; @cetacean_law
University of Miami School of Law